Saved: The City’s First Dog Cafe Reopens after Outpouring of Love by New Yorkers

After reaching its goal of a $250,000 through a fundraiser on Feb 26., Boris & Horton reopens on March 11 with a new business model to avoid a financial doom again.

| 11 Mar 2024 | 03:22

The first dog café in New York, Boris & Horton, has reopened its doors after undergoing changes in its business model and renovating its location in East Village and Williamsburg following a $250,000 fundraiser. The café temporarily closed its doggy doors on Feb. 26 and reopened two weeks later on March 11.

“We’re proud to reopen tomorrow,” said co-founder Coppy Holzman on March 10, as he was stocking the cafes for the reopening the next morning after a two week shut down. “We are very humbled with the loving support from our community,” he said. “We look forward to seeing everyone back here.”

The cafe’s Instagram announced a list of updates for customers following the reopening, including policy changes, menu updates, and a cleaner East Village café. They are also offering tableside ordering during peak hours to manage crowding.

While the $250,000 will help them cover the costs for now, they had to rethink ways to keep the business sustainable through its everyday customers. The owners carefully reviewed numerous comments and suggestions from customers on their Instagram post when they announced their decision to to close due to financial difficulties which helped them come up with a plan. The café now proposes that customers treat it like a museum and suggests a $10 fee for visitors with a dog and a $5 fee for those without a dog.

“We have more overhead than a regular café with just two staff members, extra supplies, and extra requirements for the health department. It’s like a visiting fee, but we’re not going to force it on you. We still want to be a happy place, but just like you go to the Met, you go to the MoMA, they suggest it, but they still let you in if you don’t do it,” Holzman said.

Their fundraiser successfully reached its goal through donations, merchandise sales, and subscription box purchases. The monthly subscription boxes are priced between $40 and $120 and offer a selection of Boris & Horton merchandise and dog treats. Subscribers also gain exclusive membership to attend member-only events such as food tastings, comedy shows, art classes, and more.

Previously, the café had announced the closure of both its locations in East Village and Williamsburg due to financial constraints. The dog lovers of New York could not let go of one of their favorite cafes without a fight, barking up a storm of support. They flooded the café and its Instagram page with support. They even initiated a GoFundMe campaign independently, which collected $20,000 in donations. Eventually, their persistence persuaded the founders to reconsider and reopen the café.

“I’m really excited to come in here today to see all my favorite dogs,” said Iris Li, a dog side staffer who has been working at Boris & Horton for 3 years and was on the first shift during the cafe’s reopening.